The Grassroots of Dorothy are continuing its project of bringing back to life the historic churches that remain one of the valley’s attractions.
The group undertook the project in 2006, with the goal of making sure the historic Catholic and United churches in Dorothy would remain for future generations. At the time, if the group had not intervened, it is possible they would no longer be here today.
Fast forward to 2009, hundreds of man hours, fundraising efforts and donations of building supplies have the churches standing as reminders of the area’s history.
This summer a major step was undertaken as the group refinished the interior walls of the United Church. Betty Faubion explains they reconstructed the lost and broken laths by planing survey stakes to the proper width. Because the art of lath and plastering is slowly being lost, they opted to stucco the interior. Ryan Pascut of Pascut Masonry in Rosedale completed the work, leaving a new look and feel to the inside of the church.
Betty says they are waiting for the stucco to cure before they begin painting the interior.
This is just one of a long list of improvements to the churches, and it is certainly not the end of the road. She says the aged character of the churches will always remain.
“If you get a new back, you can’t always stand straight,” laughs Betty.
The project began about three years ago by cleaning up the churches, hauling away tons of debris and mess left by some of the animals that inhabited the church. The roofs of the churches were replaced, sealing them from the weather, and the foundations were shored up. New windows and doors from the outside also help keep the elements out.
Right now they have the wood to replace the floor of the Catholic Church. They also want to fix the floor of the United Church, sand, paint and install the casings.
One new milestone they have reached is a youth group from the Lutheran Church in Strathmore held a Sunday Morning service in the United Church, and 17 people attended. The traffic to the churches of people coming to see the site has increased, and it remains a popular destination for photographers.
While the project continues on, they are thankful for the support, but they could always use more helping hands.
Much of the labour has been supplied by Frank Roes, Larry Smith and Ray Faubion. Betty says they could always use more hands to help.
For more information, to volunteer or contribute to the Grassroots of Dorothy and the restoration of the churches contact Betty at 403-822-2121.